I spent so much of my life waiting to be happy. I held the common mantra of “I’ll be happy when…” I get married, have children, land the dream job, lose weight, feel better, etc.…. I firmly believed that what I wanted was outside of myself and I just had to work hard and be a good person (there are a bazillion definitions for this, fyi) and then I would magically get and become what I wanted, then I would be happy. I accomplished all of these things and my happiness never arrived.
Most of the stress and drama in our lives involves believing the relentless media streaming that we don’t have enough, what we have can be taken from us and that our value is outside of ourselves and others need to provide it. We stay in our resigned or even resentful states of being because we believe that we cannot feel safe unless the government does something or our circumstances improve. We can’t feel secure until we have x number of dollars in savings. We can’t be happy until so and so loves us, our mother validates of us, our children are healthy and happy, our boss recognizes our achievement. Or a big one; because someone else is suffering. In short we don’t live fully until we see the evidence. But the kicker is, often we won’t see the evidence until we live fully.
I hear constantly that being told to ‘love yourself’ and ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’ and ‘don’t worry, be happy’ are just too vague. And even a practice of gratitude doesn’t work for some. The key to feeling happy now is to actually feel how having your wants/desires realized would feel. What if you believed you were safe and that nothing could be taken from you? What if you had all the money in the bank? What if your mother really loved you? What if you got the promotion, the award, the raise? Can you feel it? It’s not the ‘thing’ you want, it’s the feeling. And, how is not feeling this way working for you, so far?
The next part is to act from those feelings. What does the you that has what you want wear? What does she eat? Who does she hang with? How does she spend her time? How does she fully live? How does she fully show up as her secure, assured, validated self? Your feelings absolutely dictate your actions.
We don’t have to make big changes or strive for big achievements to feel happy. We don’t have to work hard, fix, undo; get rid of the relationships, change jobs, move or run a marathon (unless that makes you really happy!) because you and your unhappiness just go with you. The happiness you want is still ‘out there.’ Once the shift to feeling what happy feels like takes place, the outside environment shifts by itself subtly; People that used to irritate, seem nicer and even better looking. The job suddenly feels enjoyable. You appreciate that your mother sacrificed for your survival, if not for your happiness. To bigger shifts; The promotion you wanted goes to someone else, but an opportunity more to your liking opens up. The relationship dissolves on its own. You lose weight because you’re out living as your happy, validated self.
There are thousands of stories of people who have gone to incredible lengths to realize their dreams only to wake up with the same sense of emptiness and unhappiness that they had before they started their journey or people who have lost everything but started over and are grateful that the experience taught them what made them truly happy. Life is short. Feel happy now.